tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 11, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
i'm huell howser. get ready for an adventure. right now, we're right off highway 14 in kern county and look at all of this behind me. i've been hearin' about this place, readin' about this place, seein' pictures of this place for years now, but this is my first opportunity to actually spend some time here and it is overwhelming. and if you think this is beautiful, look over here. this is otherworldly. it's spectacular. it's magnificent. and ron, you're the superintendent of this place. where are we right now? >> we are at red cliffs natural preserve in red rock canyon state park, and this red rock canyon state park is 27,000 acres of beautiful cliffs that you see here in the background. >> well, now, when you say "beautiful cliffs," that's the understatement. what are we lookin' at? why is it this color?
and i assume this is why red rock canyon got its name. >> that is correct, huell. the area here has a transverse fault called the garlock fault that comes off the sierra nevadas and tehachapi mountains, and this area was covered with a lot of sand and sedimentary rock many, many years ago in the miocene, the pliocene era. well, then, later came a volcanic surge and laid over it, and then with this fault uplifted, and most of these-- all these cliffs, besides this cliff, faced to the south, and as the wind and rain came along, it eroded and made these fabulous curtains as you go down and see these cliffs here in red rock canyon. >> yeah, not only-- oh, look over here, when you talk about curtains, this is just spectacular. not only the color, which is the first thing that hits you, but the formations themselves. this is--i've never seen anything like this in california and i know that you wanted us here early this morning
while the sun was hittin' it just perfectly because it really just pops out at you when you see it. >> that's correct, and this area right here is along highway 14. many people come see it as they come through here. it's the postcard of red rock canyon state park. many commercials and films had been shot here because it's unique. it's always an ongoing story, and many more places to see throughout the park. >> yeah, i know. this is just-- we've just barely even gotten into the park. this is what you can see just drivin' down highway 14. this is a huge park. we're gonna be spendin' the whole day here. we're startin' off in front of what you call the postcard, and a beautiful postcard it is. let's take a look at it right here because this is where we're gonna be spendin' the day, right here at this beautiful park, red rock canyon state park, which is definitely one of "california's golden parks." ron, we may never get
into the park because the red cliffs natural preserve here is just overwhelming, and when you walk up to these formations, it really begins to show you how small we are and how big they are. this is absolutely breathtaking. >> very much, sir. >> so, look at this. i don't know whether the camera can see this or not, but we are standin'-- i feel like i'm in the grand canyon. >> you know, it really humbles us, you know, to--in this area. and that's why it became a state park in 1981 because of the huge significant value and aesthetic that we see here and people are inspired by them. >> now, talk about somethin' that puts you in your place, standin' here makes you feel very small. give everybody a wave, ron. here we are and look at this above us. it's magnificent.
okay, now we have come not over a half a mile from where we were earlier at red cliffs. i've hooked up with jim. you're a docent here, a volunteer, right? >> that's correct, yes. >> and where are we now? because this is spectacular right here. >> this is hagen canyon, the opening to hagen canyon, and rudolph hagen was a german immigrant who came in here around 1900 and he bought up all the old mining claims and he turned this into his own personal park. >> wait a minute. his own personal park. >> he bought the mine claims and then he was here for about 20, 25 years, and his son also lived here with him and he died while he was here and that's why you see so many things named ricardo because his son's name was ricardo. he also had a post office here. and during world war i, since he was a german immigrant, they took his post office rights away from him. so he just continued on with this as his park, he ran tours, he named everything. one of the most famous ones
is that turk's turban right there. >> turk's turban. >> because it looks like a head with a turban around it. and it fell off from up above and came down and just set itself right there in the ground. >> wow. >> and it's been one of the-- on almost all the famous postcards from this area, have a picture of turk's turban on it. >> lots of postcards from this area, but boy, you can't take a bad picture here. >> it's almost impossible. and also in black and white, at certain times of the day, the--it's just incredible, the kind of relief and contrast you get with black and white photograph. >> that looks like a wall up there on the top going across the top. but that couldn't be a wall. >> that's actually basalt. that's lava flows that flowed in here on top of some of this other stuff many million years ago. and you have the basalt, that flowed in on top, and that's why it's black and a different color. and you can see how it has sloughed off down the hills right into the sandstones. >> boy, this is like
a timeline here. >> it is. >> you're standin' here, looking at this, isn't it? >> it's like a geology textbook and-- >> yeah, i would imagine a lot of geology students come out here, don't they? >> they come out, usually every spring, and they have crews that come out and they get licensed and they go around and they do digs and they find incredible fossils throughout the place. now, years ago, fossils were actually stickin' out the face of these cliffs, but they've long been taken out so now it's much harder to find the fossils, but they have found things like rhinoceros, elephants, camels, horses-- >> here? >> --yes. ten million years ago, there was a rhinoceros here in this area and this wasn't a desert. it was a juniper-pine forest, lots of rain, had rivers flowing into basins and there was lots of water. >> boy, you know your history. you must give a lot of tours. >> i do this every day. >> i figured you did. now-- >> i've been doing it for 12 years. >> we hooked up specifically 'cause, are we gonna hike right out in here because this, one of the claims to fame of red rock canyon.
this is like a back lot on a movie studio. >> oh, yes, it is. about 120 movies have been shot in this area. >> now, see what i'm hikin' back here. i'm overwhelmed by the size, by the spectacular vastness of what we're doin', but right now jim has promised that he's gonna show us a place up here that's very small, that most people would never see and it's gonna provide us quite an experience. i'm not sure where we're going, but jim hadn't let us down yet. so here we go. and here we are, here it is right here. what are we lookin' at here, jim? >> we're looking at one of the typical rock windows. we have a lot of them through the park here. and they're created by wind, mostly. >> a rock window. >> yeah, there's a society here in the united states
that goes around and records all the rock windows. >> can we go in there? >> it's a big deal. yes, you can. >> let's go take a look out the window. boy, this is unexpected. come on over here with me, jim. here we are. we're lookin' out the rock window. and boy, it's a beautiful view lookin' out here too. >> yeah, you can really see all the beautiful terrain around here. >> yeah. >> all the different types of volcanic material. >> i've never looked out a rock window before. this is another first. >> you see, we have about six or eight of 'em here in the park. >> well, i know you're jaded, but this is exciting for me. >> we have one more right there. >> uh-huh. >> so if you keep panning around, you'll see another rock window back there. >> another red rock, another famous movie story, another famous movie star story, jim. >> right. and this rock behind me here, right in the middle, with the red cap on it, ronald reagan,
back in his early days when he was a movie star, got shot in a western film and was killed and fell off the top of that rock and he was chasing his brother who was a cattle rustler, but he didn't know it was his brother. so when he looked down and saw the guy, he hesitated when he saw it was his brother and his brother shot him-- >> oh, my gosh. >> --and he fell off. >> fell off that rock. >> fell off the rocks. >> and to this day, when you give your tours, this is called? >> ronald reagan's rock. >> ronald reagan's rock. >> because everybody recognizes the name and says, "oh, yeah, president reagan." >> there're angles in this park. >> yes, there are. a lot of angles. when this park was originally-- when this territory was originally formed many, many millions years ago, it was a lake bed, and in the bottom of that lakebed, layer after layer after layer of sandstone over the millions of years, and then a volcanic and tectonic action cracked the lakebed and tilted it up so that what you're seeing all the way through here is these tilted rocks.
>> and there's a specific angle to these rocks. >> about 17, 17 1/2 degrees throughout the park. >> why 17 degrees? >> nobody knows for sure. it just happens to be the angle that everything broke off at and slid back. >> so that's a 17-degree angle and there are 17-degree angles all through the park. >> throughout the park. >> there are red rocks in this park, but look over here, that's not red. oh, look. that's modern history. >> coming right out of edward's air force base. >> the old and the new. >> yeah, that's it. >> now, let's look over here, at this. this isn't red. this is pink. >> okay, that's pink and that's from a pyroclastic volcanic explosion that happened many million years ago. and material blew out just like mount st. helens and-- >> so it's a huge, huge explosion. >> massive explosion and all this material flowed in here and then it settled down and solidified, and it's pink because it was a very foamy material, a very foamy
air-filled material. >> wow. >> so that's why it's a different color from the black basalt that was a slow flow that came in later. >> and the red rock which is sandstone. >> sandstone that was at the bottom of the lakes. >> see, i'm learning my geology-- >> isn't it amazing? >> --pretty quickly. yeah, but i guess most people ask these same questions, don't they? >> absolutely, the same questions. they look at all of this and say "why, why, why?" and that's my job, is to explain to 'em how this happened and why it is the way it is. >> now, this really just happened. this was not planned, was it, jim? >> no, it was not. >> you were reachin' down to pick up this piece of basalt to show us what basalt looked and felt like, and this basalt was put here approximately how many years ago? >> oh, many million-- 10, maybe as much as 13, 14 million years ago. >> give or take, a few million years. >> right. >> all right. so we got the basalt. that's 13 million years old, then, cameron, our cameraman, was walking around and with his cameraman eyes spotted what?
>> that's a piece of pottery, and that pottery could be as much as a hundred years old and probably came through with settlers that came through here back around 1900 or earlier, and the hallmark is still visible on the back of it. and, you know, the right people can look at this and identify it and tell you were it was made and approximately when. >> so we got everything here. there's a lot going on, there's a lot to see, and there's a huge timeline here at red rock canyon state park. >> yes, and what's nice is it's all exposed. it's all been uplifted and exposed so you can see literally anywhere from seven to 13 millions years of geologic history here, and it's just here for everybody to look at. >> and this little piece of-- >> piece of modern man shows up. >> a pottery kind of came to the surface and exposed itself too. >> right. >> so it's all here. boy, when you start lookin', and this is a perfect place to demonstrate it, we're standin' behind what look like flat tables here. this is sandstone, but it's white sandstone.
>> that's correct and it's white because it's got some ash from volcanic ash that came into this area and it turned it slightly white. >> now, isn't that sandstone too? >> that's also sandstone and that's got iron ore in it which turns it the rusty color and you can see the rust coming right down, washing right out of it. >> well, yeah, and also, see, it looks like it was formed by water, by waves. >> yeah. it was formed in lakebeds and in stream beds, so it sort of takes-- it shows the path the water took and then, of course, it got compressed over the years and still shows some of the original shapes of the flow of this material. >> where did this color come from? from iron ore which what? washed from-- >> from up in the sierras-- there's lot of iron ore up in there, and that material washed down in the lakebeds and it would-- when it was coming from that direction, you'll get the red-colored stones and you can always tell by looking at these cliffs which particular areas flowed in
from the sierras. >> yeah. can we walk over here? i know we're not supposed to touch, but boy, it's just so beautiful. it just kind of glistens in the sunlight. this is a beautiful-- this is like a piece of art. >> yes, it is. that's why it's so beautiful and why people love it here. it's the beauty and grandeur of red rock canyon state park. >> we're walking down an old wagon road. and before we talk about the road, if you thought it couldn't get any better than what we've seen already, look at this. every turn you make, jim, it's another homerun. >> yes, it is. it just keeps going and going and going. >> all right. now, let's talk about this road because it's a road right through here and you said it went up through that point up there. what was this road all about? >> well, back around the turn of the century and maybe a little bit before, there was people who traveled through here in wagon trains and there was one of these roads
that came up through and over the top there. >> wait a minute. a wagon train could come through this country? >> yes, it could. they took wagon trains through some awesome country around here. >> wow. >> and, remember, bein' pulled by horses and oxen, they could go through some pretty terrible terrain. >> boy, they must have. as terrible and as hot as it was, they must have been at least excited when they saw somethin' like this. >> oh, yeah. i'm sure that just beauty and grandeur of all this kept them pretty happy and they didn't worry too much about the heat. >> all right. let's walk down the road because today, this old road is part of the hiking trail. this is where people come to hike back here in the back country. it just goes all the way back through that gap up there. we have arrived on the surface of another planet. at least, that's what it looks like to me, jim. this has gotta be one of the favorite stops on your hiking tour.
>> yes, it is. and the people come back here and we always explain to them that several famous movies, one of mars and one of the moon, was made back here. >> what were those movies? >> the movie was "destination mars" and "rocketship x-m." [music] >> this looks other-worldly. look at this over here. all the way around here, and boy, you can see that 17-degree angle right up there when you know what you're lookin' at and then this is where we just hiked from. how far from the road are we? seems like about 10, maybe 20 miles. >> no, i don't think so. we're probably about a mile at the most. >> oh, that's it. so this is available for people. lots of people
could come and see just what we have seen today. >> and we bring the people back here all the time on our tours, and you can come back here on your own, too. i mean, there's trail markers and, you know, you can come back here-- >> wow. this is so interesting. it's such a surprise to see this. it's a whole 'nother look from everything we have seen so far. and look up here, at the sight of this hill here, this mountain. this is a feast for the eyes. there's no bad shot, there's no bad angle. photographers must go crazy here. >> they do. they--and they come back constantly by themselves so they can get the right sun angles. they'll sit back here half a day to get just the right angle so they can get their contrast just right. >> yeah. >> and they return. and just like cameron said, "i'm gonna have "to come back here on my own and get some of this stuff--" >> yeah. because the different angles at the different times of the day show a different look. but let's just look right out here. it doesn't get any prettier than that.
lots of layers, and you can see all the way back to where we started on this mile-long hike even though it seems like about 10. it was just a mile. we had spotted a camel out here in the desert. camel sighting right here. >> yeah. that's camel rock right there and you can notice that it does have the shape of a camel, including the hump on his back and everything so-- >> now, who discovered-- who named that camel rock? who saw that the first time? >> probably rudolph hagen 'cause he came through here and named almost all of the unique formations back in the 1910, 1915 time when he ran this place. >> now, when people walk by here, they probably, unless you point that out, don't realize it looks like a camel, or do people notice it? >> some people notice it, but most of them you have to point it out before they really see it and then they go, "oh, yeah. i see. that is a camel." >> thank you, sir, for this tour. this has been absolutely wonderful and in conversation with jim along the trail, i found out that before he became
a volunteer docent here at red rock canyon state park, you were in aerospace for 40 years and helped build the space station. >> that's correct. yes, i did. >> well, you're still in space out here. look at this. >> that's why i like it so much. >> well, congratulations. you're doing a great job. when you come out here to visit the park, maybe you'll get jim as one of your tour guides. another one of his talents is playing the harmonica. so as a segue from this segment to the next segment of this adventure. we're just gonna leave you out here in space, playing the harmonica, okay? >> all right. >> go for it. [music] the adventure continues. red rock revealed in layers.
we have now come inside to the visitor center to cool off. we'd met up with another volunteer docent. jim was a volunteer, the fellow who took us on the hike. lou, you're a volunteer as well, and you're here to tell us about the fossils that have been found in red rock canyon over the years. jim was telling us, i think he mentioned elephants and rhinoceros, is that right? >> yeah, that's right. around 10,000 years ago, the actual terrain that we have out here was totally different. the animals that we're finding are more like camel-like giraffes, and we have-- >> wait a minute. giraffes? >> yeah. >> oh my gosh. and wait a minute, over here, here is the-- >> this is the actual-- the bone of a gomphothere where its tusk is shown right in here. >> a gomphothere means elephant, doesn't it? >> it's a type of an elephant, and here it is right there. >> oh, there it is, over there. >> it's got a short trunk,
not normally what we see in the african elephants but we did have that type of animal out here. >> wow. >> and here is one of its bones right in here. >> wow. so, all of this was found-- was it found on the park itself? >> yes. it's found in the local area. what they do-- a lot of times what happens is when caltrans starts doing highway work out here and they have to go ahead and move some materials, and all of a sudden they find bones out there. >> they'll give you a call late at night and say, "get out here." all right. let's look over here because this is a very interesting display. it just goes on and on. we have got cats and dogs. were these big cats and dogs? >> they're about the size-- they can range anywhere from the size of a cougar to a small cat, house cat. >> wow. so the place was-- these were undomesticated, obviously. >> definitely, definitely. >> this was how many years ago? >> over 10,000 years ago. >> wow. camel ankles down here. camel footprints. horse teeth up here.
sabertooth--oh, look at that. from the cougar. boy, these were big animals, weren't they? >> oh, yes. definitely, they were. carnivorous-type animals that we've had here. >> now, we're ending up right here by this nice little painting over here because this-- a picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it, lou? >> right. exactly. 10,000 years ago, this is what where we're standing at right now used to look like. >> green, not red. >> green. lush grasses growin' there, a lot of rain, a lot of water. and that was able to support this type of life. but as they started drying up, the animals started disappearing and dying off because they were not changing with the environment, but other animals came in in its place and started taking over. that's why we have these fossils. >> so, these fossils were stuck in all of these layers-- >> yes. >> --that we're seein' today when we hiked around red rock canyon. >> exactly. exactly. >> wow. it's an amazing story that is told right here. you're summing up something
that happened-- how many years ago these animals were here? >> we are looking at these animals found here were from about 10,000 years but we can go almost back to the periods where the pleistocene almost about a millions years ago. >> really? >> yes. >> so the fossil history, the animal history of this part of california goes way back. >> way back. >> and thank goodness, it's been preserved. >> yes, definitely. >> and thank goodness, caltrans is still finding this stuff when it's widening highways. >> exactly. that's where most of the finds come from, accidentally. >> okay. we have left the visitor's center. and what makes this whole adventure so interesting is that everywhere we have been so far today, all the things we have seen, all the adventures we've had, have taken place in about 10 acres out of 27,000 acres in red rock canyon state park. you can hike this park,
you can go on horseback through the park, and ron, you can do what we're doin' right now and drive through the park. what's that all about? >> that's correct. we have over 30 miles of primitive roads that are available for vehicles that are high clearance, two-wheel drive, some four-wheel drive that are needed in this area. and you can drive on these roads, but just don't ask you that you don't drive off-road, that you can get to many destination points in the back country by these primitive road systems that we have maps for at the visitor's center. >> so people can come to the visitor center, get a map, and kind of start out on their own kind of self-guided tour. and i'm not sure i would know for sure with any great certainty where i was headin' but it really doesn't make any difference, does it? because almost anywhere you go on these roads, you're gonna have a true, honest-to-goodness california back road experience.
>> that is correct, yes. >> and we're bumpin' along. >> yes. >> which is part of the adventure. we didn't say it was gonna be smooth. we said it was gonna be an adventure. >> and these are primitive roads, so they kind of go with the territory. >> boy, what a wonderful day we have had and how many surprises did we discover here. thank you so much, ron. we have seen the fossil history, we have heard about the movie history, we have heard about the human history, the mining history, we have hiked, we have driven, we have walked, we have discovered. boy, there is a lot to see and do here and i'm a little bit embarrassed that for all these years, but it's happened with a lot of people, we have driven right by this place, highway 14 is just a hundred yards from here. i haven't stopped until today but, i guarantee you, i'll be back. >> very good. >> you'll be here. >> we want everybody
to come back and we'll be here, yes, we will. >> we're just glad you made it out of the canyon back there with your harmonica okay. >> yeah. good. >> he played the harmonica for us. pull that harmonica out and play a little bit more for us as we say goodbye. we have had a wonderful day here at the park, red rock canyon state park, which is definitely one of "california's golden parks." oh, we got a duet going here. [music] captioning performed by peoplesupport transcription & captioning we ended up what we started with a surprise, and we ended up with a surprise.
it's all part of red rock canyon state park, one of california's-- i'll say it again, one of "california's golden parks." red rock canyon state park is well worth a visit. and if you'd like to go on this particular adventure again or share it with family and friends, it's available on video cassette and on dvd. all you have to do is call 1-800-266-5727 and we'll be glad to send it to you right away.
>> coming up on "california country," meet the desert dweller that's wowing chefs. >> that's good. >> then it's time to get a little nutty. >> well, with the walnut oil, it's a very full-flavored oil, very nutty and robust. >> and find out why these kids may play an important part in the future of agriculture in california. >> i'm kind of a girly girl. some days i wake up, i'm like, "gosh. i do not want to get dirty today." >> it's all ahead, and it start one of the great things about farming in california is that it seems like almost anything can grow here. and just when you think you've seen everything,
a farm like this comes around. welcome to rivenrock gardens, just outside of nipomo. farmer john dicus came up with the idea, and the rest, as they say, is history. >> it's really healthy. it's an environmentally friendly type plant. it doesn't require quite as much water, nutrients as another plant would for the same amount of food value that you get from it. it's a healthy plant. we eat it for ourselves just for the health that it gives. so it seemed to be a natural plant to share. > though they may look the same to us, there are actually about 400 varieties of cacti, and while not all are edible, john does grow an edible variety called nopalea grande. during peak season, he is shipping upwards of 3,000 pounds of the plant at a time, and while some go to pet-food stores for tortoises to enjoy, most of the plants here are used for human consumption. so john has a grading system he uses when harvesting.
>> we have several different grades, depending on what the consumer wants. this is grade-a, tender, beautiful, exquisite, baby-vegetable cactus, shipped with ultimate care in packing. this would be grade-b, also for the gourmand, but a little larger. not as much packing material in there to protect it. this is a good grace-c, very good for the ultimate consumer, easy to prepare and clean. you've got a lot of food value per leaf. >> grown on hillsides with plenty of sun and well-drained soil, the plants love to grow close together, and from planting to harvest, it can take months even years to get full growth out of the plants. as you might expect with the prickly plants, harvest is a unique one, involving two key ingredients for success--a sharp knife and some heavy-duty gloves. and from grading to harvesting to packing, john does it all here, so he doesn't mind a little help every once in a while.
>> so, what does it take harvest cactus? what are we looking for here? >> well, i like them to be about the size of your hand, maybe a little bit larger, as long as they're not overmature and pithy inside. these are all nice and fresh and young. >> that looks small, though. too small? >> they're a little small. this is good for grade-b perhaps. >> oh, that's a big one. wow. >> that's a beautiful grade-c. >> grade-c, huh? >> yes. because it's so large. >> oh. >> but it's in great condition. that will actually make a perfect cactus salsa for us.
>> i like what you're thinking. >> john's main business comes from shipping across the country to customers who consider cacti an exotic delicacy of sorts. but while they may seem exotic to us, they remain very popular south of the border. in mexico, cacti are a $150 million business, which is why chef arnulfo hernandez has incorporated them into this authentic mexican cuisine at reposado in palo alto. having grown up in mexico, he relied on his mother's cacti recipes to highlight the uniqueeggie with an even more unique taste. >> tangy...earthy... and pleasant flavor. but you've got to get used to it, to the texture more than anything. the texture is the most challenging thing in the cactus. but if you execute it like the way i do it, you will not have a problem. if you can, salt it prior to order, because if you add salt to it, it releases
all of the stuff that it's inside of the flesh, the liquid, and you don't want that. so just prior to serve, season it with salt. the best way to play with this is just, you know, let them boil for a few minutes. once they get dark, they're pretty much ready. and then you have to very much cool them off before you roast them or grill them. >> with a soft but crunchy texture that also becomes a bit sticky when cooked, kind of like okra, edible cactus tastes similar to a slightly tart green bean or even green pepper. chef hernandez recommends grilling them so the leaves stay crisp and not soggy. and he uses them in a variety of ways, from a salad to a sauce to a cacti sorbet which, along with a shot of tequila, is actually used as an after-dinner palate cleanser in the cuisine. who knew?
but if you want to try your luck at home with cactus and want a super-easy, super-simple recipe, look no further than farmer john's salsa recipe. >> and so, this looks good, but the secret ingredient is? >> cactus. >> ok. let's put that in there. >> the whole batch. >> so that just kind of adds a little texture to it, huh? >> and also the mucilage in the cactus will help bind everything together. a couple hours in the refrigerator blends all the flavors. >> ooh, nice. >> and it's very healthy. >> i was going to take a chip. >> dip on in. >> enjoy it with me, right? a little cactus. that's good. >> mm-hmm. >> that's the way to end the day. yeah, that's good. for "california country," i'm tracy sellers. >> brought to you by allied insurance, a member of the nationwide family of companies,
which also includes nationwide insurance. on your side. >> the people, the places, the unforgettable tastes of california will be back in a moment. >> as californians, we're connected to agriculture. that's why the allied insurance partnership with the california farm bureau offers us discounts on auto insurance, whether we live on the farm or in the city. as a member of the nationwide family of companies, allied insurance is committed to protecting what's important, for you and your community. contact your local agent today. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪
>> want to visit the central coast? well, there's no better time than this fall. that's because "sunset" magazine and santa margarita ranch are hosting the "savor the central coast" event, which will celebrate the bounty and the beauty of this area in an incredible 4-day experience. "sunset" editors, celebrity chefs, and artisan food makers will all be there to highlight some of the region's best-kept secrets. it happens this fall, and you won't want to miss out. for tickets, go to savorcentralcoast.com, and we'll see you there.
>> welcome back to "california country." >> for dozens of kids, the main attraction at this year's california state fair was not a ride, but a chance to put on some surgical gowns and gloves and pretend to be a vet. >> i just arned about blood, and now i'm going to learn about the heart, and then after this station, i believe, the eyeball. >> for a couple of hours, about a hundred kids, some peering into microscopes, were transformed into animal surgeons, and they were giving the kids vet school workshops the thumbs-up. >> well, i want to be a veterinarian or just maybe a doctor or a police officer like my dad. >> although a lot of young children are interested in learning about animals at this stage, research shows
only a handful of them will actually grow up and choose a career working with cattle or other large animals. >> well, large-animal vets provide a variety of important functions in cifornia. not only are they practicing veterinarians to take care of the animals on the farms, which is the firpt step in the food supply. so it's critical that those animals are healthy. >> since california has the largest agricultural economy in the u.s. and about 14,000 beef cattle operations, the lack of livestock veterinarians is alarming. now meet 24-year-old zuhal elhan and ashley amaral, who are bucking the trend. they're students at u.c. davis school of veterinary medicine, interning with dr. nancy martin, who is an experienced vet and is giving them hands-on training working with bulls on a yolo county family ranch. >> it's really amazing, because you can only learn so much in a classroo. the classroom gives us a great
basis, and then coming out during the summer, it just gives us the clinical experience that helps tie all the ideas we get from the classroom together. >> today they're learning to test the bulls for disease. it sounds simple, but it's not, especially as some of these bulls can weigh 1,300 pounds. >> yeah. no, the first time that i had to measure the... you know, something under the bull, and every time he moved, i jerked back, pulled away, because i don't want to get kicked. but i think that having that awareness and that respect for the animal is what prevents me from getting hurt. >> ok, zuhal. 89-79. >> despite their busy day, there's always time for fun. and it's usually muddy fun. this testing program is important for cattle ranchers like kim and hry favier. they're fourth-generation ranchers who own the bulls on this family ranch. >> it means a lot to us. it's part of the land. we're part of an industry that i'm very proud of. and it's a lifestyle. it's a lot of hard work, but it's a great way to live. >> they tell me each bull
can produce about 50 calves, and since a calf ca sell for about $500, an infertile bull in a commercial herd can be economically devastating. >> if a bull can't breed a cow, the cow doesn't have a calf. if we don't have a calf, we don't have a product. >> that's why they're pleased to see veterinarians like dr. martin mentoring and teaching the next generation of vets like ashley and zuhal. >> today it's very difficult to get young people to want to come into this career in agriculture. so it's very important that we have young people that come out with dr. martin or other veterinarians to help teach them and bring them into this industry. >> dr. martin spends hours mentoring the students, sometimes working on different ranches a day. by the end of it all, everyone is dirty and tired but pleased. >> i'm kind of a girly girl. some days i wake up, i'm like, "gosh, i do not want to get dirty today." and by the end of the day, i'm usually covered in something not so plsant.
so, it's always nice to go home and take a good shower afterwar. >> students on the u.c. davis program typically spend much of their 2-year course on a commercial cattle operation like this ranch. working alongside vets and attending daily calls are an important part of it. zuhal, who grew up in urban los angeles, admits that working with cattle is the last thing she ever thought of doing as a child. but now she's tried u.c. davis early veterinary student bovine experience program, she is hooked. >> it's different, and it's one of those things that, until you get exposed to it, you can't really appreciate it. and we're so closed off from the food-animal industry in suburbia or in an urban environment. you don't see the ranches. you don't know how much work goes into it. you get your hamburger nicely packaged, and so it's all of us out here that make that meat come to you and be healthy and safe. >> now she hopes more young people will join her and choose a career working with california cattle on a farm. charlotte fadipe for "california country" tv.
>> this segment is brought to you by the california farm bureau federation. >> our dad used to say, "when you work hard for something, protect it." >> that's why he got nationwide insurance more than 30 years ago. >> we're still with them today, because no matter what changes in our lives, whether it's starting a business or building a house. >> having kids or buying a car. >> with an " your side" review from nationwide insurance, we get the coverage we need at the right price for us. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> make sure your coverage keeps up with your life. ask your local agent or call 877-306-1252 today.
>> it's one thing to buy things in boxes and packages and just have it show up. it's another thing to actually know where that is produced and where it's come from and how it's produced. i think it even goes further when you have some kind of personal connection to it. >> literally farm to table. literally it's like from the gardens, from the dirt. i mean, they cme straight from that place. the connection--when you make that connection with a farmer, with growers, it makes for a different feeling when you're cooking. for me now, things taste different.
>> welcome back to "california country." >> californians are used to being called a little nutty. but now it could be considered more of a compliment, thanks to the fact that the golden state accounts for nearly 99% of the u.s. supply of walnuts and nearly 2/3 of the world's supply. this versatile little nut can be enjoyed in savory and sweet foods and can even be a critical link to having a healthy diet, all of which has made this california treat a lot of new fans. and it's because of that newfound popularity that more and more companies are turning to walnuts for their new products, including this one in the central valley, where they're turning all of these walnuts into liquid gold. here in california on land from redding to bakersfield, more than 200,000 acres are devoted to walnut production.
dan martinez and his family have been rooted in the walnut industry since the fifties. they call the fertile soil of winters home base and say it is the solute perfect place to grow one nature's perfect foods. >> in particular in winters, we have, i think, an ideal climate for walnuts. in addition to the climate, we have great deep soil along putah creek on the south side, deep, very alluvial soil, and access to a lot of and good, clean water. >> today, dan and his family grow 700 acres of grapes and rootstock in addition to the 170 acres of walnuts they have. but to stay competitive in the nut world, they've been looking for other venues to sell their walnuts. one of them came just down the road in woodland at the la tourangelle nut oil company. >> it's been great, a very dynamic business. we're always looking for people like ourselves who are dynamic and trying new things in the industry. so this is
one great outlet for us to have the walnut oil for a place to... part of our crop anyway. >> taking the best of both worlds--fresh california walnuts and french production methods-- frenchman matthieu kohlmeyer has created this country's first homegrown nut oil. each batch is unique and hand-crafted, following a 150-year tradition that matthieu followed in france. but when it came time to open up op here in the states, there was no question on where to go. >> well, you know$ winters is-- you know, we're surrounded by walnut trees, so it made nse really to come here. you know, people really like walnuts. they know them very well. so we...we're in the perfect area to grow. and i mean, you know, it's california. it's nice weather. i think i choose a very nice place. before matthieu's invention, nut oils were strictly imports and thus lacked taste
and affordability for most consumers. mattheiu says the keys to a superior nut oil are twofold. first, the method is crucial, which involves taking the walnuts from dan's farm and sun-drying them, shelling, grinding, and then roasting the nuts, all to enhance flavor. and the other secret to success? the walnuts, of course. >> well, it's simple. i mean, what we're doing is not only extracting the oil from the walnut, what we are trying to get is the flavor of the walnut in the oil, and that's really what makes the difference in the quality. so what we do is by roasting the nuts, you get the flavor really strong, and so the best walnuts you use, the best walnut oil you'll get. dan, you know, using these really nice natural walnuts, is getting really... the flavor is great. well, i think until now, until we arrived here, they could only find that imported from france. so it was expensive. often it was a little rancid, too, because it was so-- you know, the time between the production time and, you know, it arrived here.
so, you know, the fact that it's very fresh, local, makes them, you know, even more excited. and to be local is important, too. you know, i think there's a strong trend today to rediscover, you know, what we have in our backyard. no need to go 5,0 mi. so... >> mmm. yeah. really good flavor. that's going to be a great product. so every batch is going to be different. >> the popularity of the walnut oil has increased in recent years thanks to the good news about heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in walnut oil, something our ancestors knew back in the day. during medieval times, walnuts were actually considered a medicine used to treat everything from muscle aches to digestive problems. la tourangelle now produces 14 different types of oils, from almond to sesame to pumpkin to avocado oil. but the biggest seller is the walnut oil.
more than 15,000 tins are sold every month to retail outlets nationwide and have found a following with chefs looking for a new flavor enhancer. >> well, with the walnut oil, it's a very full-flavored oil, very nutty and robust. typically you would want to use that as either a finishing oil or in a vinaigrette. >> at roseville's newest and ttest restaurant, paul martin's bistro, chef josh korn says the oil adds a nice nutty pop to whatever he's working with, whether it's veggies, salads, or even main dishes. but more than that, the new product is a way to support their local farming community. >> well, that's a way of life for these people, you know. they live out on that farm. they get up before the sun. they get out there and roll up the sleeves and get dirty, and you know, that's their life. so that's why we're so big on supporting those people. that's their livelihood, and anything that we can do to help support them and keep agricultural land agricultural land for growing, you know, we're all about that. whatever we can do to help. >> this trio is proving you can celebrate e flavors
of the season in a variety of ways, all thanks to one little nut and one big idea. for "california country," i'm tracy sellers. >> as californians, we're connected to agriculture. that's why the allied insurance partnership with the california farm bureau offers us discounts on auto insurance, whether we live on the farm or in the city. as a member of the nationwide family of companies, allied insurance is committed to protecting what's important for you and your community. contact your local agent today. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> this is a bluebird box, and
>> woodland, california, has a history as one of the largest and most important agricultural centers in the northern part of the state. and there's a place on the edge of town that reflects much of that history. in two huge buildings near interstate 5, you'll find the fred. heidrick antique ag collection, the world's largest and most unique collection of one-of-a-kind antique agricultural equipment, and the hays antique truck museum, also recognized as the largest of its kind in the world. but this is much more than old trucks and farm implements. at the center, much history is shared through interactive exhibits, entertaining events, and stories told by people like lonnie wunder. >> fred heidrick was a major farmer in the area. he farmed over 30,000 acres at one time. and he ended up collecting farm equipment all of his life. >> and quite honestly, when you get to be a successful farmer, you can go out,
and you can talk to other guys, and most of these guys like to talk about the old days. and so he'd look over there, and he'd say, "ok, joe, "what are you going to do with that old cat over there?" and so he would talk him out of it and bring it home and restore it. >> our docents aren't trained to tell stories. our docents are trained to listen to other people's stories and then tell those stories again. >> farming is backbreaking labor. and so they invented something that would help them. and on a farm, usually in the summertime you're busy. and in the wintertime, th'd go to town, they'd sit around the blacksmith's shop, and they'd talk about, "let's invent this to make it easier." >> i think it's time we fire one of these up and go for a ride.
>> oh, we've got an interesting crew over here. it's called the tuesday crew. there's a bunch of old boys over there. some of them are former navy mechanics. some of them are fcrmer farm mechanics. some of them had never seen a tractor before in their life or a truck. but then they go out, and they start taking off rusty bolts, and they rebuild some of that old stuff, and then the proudest moment is when they can crank it up, and they drive it out of the shop. >> here's an early version of a bucket seat. rich corinthian leather. and this one-- standing room only. >> this harris harvester from stockton, california, was built in 1920. it cuts, it thrashes, and it bags the grain. all of these things are combined in one machine, and that's why we have the name "combine."
any old boy that couldn't afford both could have the truck. he could work on it in the daytime with the tractor wheel, come in at night, take the wheels off, put on the rubber-tired truck wheels, and go to town. >> the 5,000-plus visitors a month we get into this museum comes from all over the world-- denmark, germany, france. so we get more people coming from outside the country than we do from california usually, to have a love of the tractors and of the history. >> the heidrick ag center, just off highway 5 and road 102. bring the whole family. there's a gift shop, there's a lot of great equipment, a ton of collections, and the kids even get to drive these around while they're seeing the exhibits. it's fun for everybody. >> well, that is going to do it for the show today. if you have any questions about anything you've seen, check out our website at californiacountry.org. and we'll see you again next week on "california country."